Turnitin Tips: How to Increase Your Originality?

Turnitin? You don’t need to be a veteran to know what it does. At times, even it comes knocking at the door of your patience. Paraphrasing is the antidote to all similarity indexes, but different products of antidotes and potions is what creates variety. In other words, paraphrasing is not the only way you can trick Turnitin. Here are some key things you should know about Turnitin!

PS: Just in case you’re new, Turnitin — the horror that haunts every college student, is a platform that detects the amount of plagiarism in your assignments.


#1.  You only have 3 attempts!


Three attempts. Three. Remember this number, as once you’ve made three submissions to Turnitin, you’d have to wait for 24 hours before submitting again. It won’t be the best day for you if you exceeded the similarity index limit and have to hand it up on the same day. Oh, the panic and horror coming for you! It’ll always be best to plan ahead and submit to Turnitin on an earlier date, but let’s say this actually happened/is happening to you, heed my warning! Your similarity index will shoot up. What should you do next? Calm down and check to see if you still have attempts left for Turnitin in other modules. Use those attempts. There won’t be a big problem even if you submitted to another module’s Turnitin, as long as you remember to resubmit your original assignment meant for the said module! None left? Call your friends to see if they have remaining attempts to help you out!

All that said, it would be wise to manage your time better by completing your work at least a few days before the deadline so you’ll have time just in case you need all 3 attempts!


#2.  Exclude the bibliography!


So you have to submit your reference list along with your work and worse, the majority of your similarity index comes from it? No worries, there are ways to exclude bibliography and quotes from the similarity index! First of all, you have to make sure you aren’t using the classic interface when you enter to check your similarity index. Next, using the new interface, you should be able to see a red-coloured tab.

If you hover your mouse over it and it says ‘Similarity Tools’, you’ve got the right one. Click on it and choose ‘Filters and Settings’.

Boxes for ‘Exclude Quotes’ and ‘Exclude Bibliography’ will appear. Make sure you tick them!

Once you’ve ticked them, don’t forget to click ‘Apply Changes’!

Tadaa, your similarity index goes down, a joyous occasion indeed.

Note: It’ll be better to ask your lecturers for permission first before doing so as sometimes they’d need the reference list included into the similarity index for their reasons.

#3. I can’t edit… oh, it’s a pic


Lecturers never really bother to ask you to remove pictures when submitting your assignment to Turnitin because Turnitin is actually unable to read them. You could turn your entire assignment into an image and submit it, but you don’t need your conscience guilt-trapping you now, do you? How about I offer you a similar but guilt-free alternative!

It might take a bit more time and planning, but using tables and graphs to strengthen your points not only saves you from Turnitin’s cruel similarity index, but gives you more word count too. They also add a touch of professionalism to your assignment! For example, if you’re doing a report assignment, you can put all your research such as comparisons or numerical data in a table. Then, you can write out your explanations or analysis. 

Important note: Turnitin doesn’t read images, so you might want to turn your tables and charts into images first before pasting them into your assignment. Say goodbye to wasting your word count on hard-to-visualise data!

Attempting to paraphrase shouldn’t hurt you at all. Excluding bibliography without permission might hurt a bit more. However, the Internet can make things painless if you know what to search for! As a ‘thank-you gift’ for reading this entire article, I’m gonna share a way to make in-text citations and reference lists so much easier to do. Whether your lecturer asks you to do it Harvard or APA style, this website is able to help you! Play around a bit and you’ll get it real quick. And check this out if you’d like more assignment tips! Wishing you good luck for your assignments!

Eunice Liow is currently pursuing a Foundation in Business at Taylor's  College. She is also a member of the Event Management team for Taylor's College Student Council.

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